The Law of First Fruits--Part 3
Feb 12, 2008
Any study of the law of first fruits is incomplete without making the connection to the firstborn of the animals as well as first-born sons. The connection is made in Exodus 13:11-13,
" (11) Now it shall come about when the Lord brings you to the land of the Canaanite, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and gives it to you, (12) that you shall devote to the Lord the first offspring of every womb, and the first offspring every beast that you own; the males belong to the Lord. (13) But every first offspring of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every first-born of man among your sons you shall redeem."
First of all, the wording of this law in verse 11 prophesies of the timing of the presentation of the first-born sons of God. In Moses' day it was to be done when the Lord brings them to the Promised Land--which is a type of the Kingdom. As it turned out, the entry into the Kingdom occurred under Joshua, not Moses. Joshua was a type of Christ in His second coming, because Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim, not Judah (Num. 13:8).
Jesus came first as the Lion of Judah in order to fulfill the prophecies of Judah and David and to receive the Dominion Mandate given to that tribe (Gen. 49:10). But the second coming of Christ is of Joseph (Ephraim) in order to receive the Fruitfulness Mandate and to bring forth the Sons of God by the law of first fruits. In fact, Ephraim means "double fruitfulness."
So verse 11 prophesies that the sons of God will be manifested after the Church has spent its 40 Jubilees in the wilderness led by "Moses." We began to be in the time of "Joshua" on Pentecost Sunday, May 30, 1993, precisely 40 Jubilee cycles after Pentecost in Acts 2.
Verse 12 above tells us that God was to be given every first-born son. However, when this was implemented in Numbers 1-3, we find that the entire tribe of Levi became the substitute that redeemed all the first-born of the other tribes. When they did the census, they found that there were 22,000 male Levites (Num. 3:39) and 22, 273 first-born of the other tribes (Num. 3:43). So each of the first-born of Israel was redeemed one-for-one, and the remaining 273 were redeemed with money (Num. 3:46, 47).
This was how God established the Levitical priesthood. The entire tribe represented the first-born sons of Israel. This established the pattern and was the type of the Melchizedek priesthood that was to come later, where the priests are the overcomers reigning with Christ in the Tabernacles Age to come.
Exodus 13:13 (above) tells us that not all of the first-born of man or beast are eligible to be presented to God. The first-born of a donkey, for instance, must be redeemed by a lamb. A donkey is an unclean beast, while a lamb is a clean beast. So we must know the difference between clean and unclean, and this is one of the duties of a godly priest (Lev. 11:47).
Exodus 13:13 also relates this to the first-born sons of men as well, saying, "and every first-born of man among your sons you shall redeem." This tells us that man himself is an unclean creature--a donkey, so to speak. If we check the laws of clean and unclean animals in Leviticus 11, we find that, physically speaking, man does not chew the cud, he does not have a split hoof, he has no fins or scales. Hence, he needs to be redeemed by the Lamb of God in order to qualify as a Son to be presented to God.
It is really about our spiritual character, of course. When Israel came out of Egypt under Moses, it is said prophetically that God called His Son out of Egypt (Ex. 4:23; Hos. 11:1). God was therefore the Father of Israel. But this made Egypt the "mother" of Israel, and the result was a first-born son who was born according to the pattern of Ishmael, the "wild donkey" (Gen. 16:12). He had an Egyptian mother.
Spiritually speaking, then, Israel was the first-born son of God, but the nation was spiritually unclean as the donkey and therefore in need of a lamb to redeem them. It is for this reason that they could not leave Egypt until they had been redeemed by the Passover lamb (Exodus 12). The Passover lambs were the factor that made Israel the "sheep of His pasture" (Psalm 100:3). Without Passover, they would have remained the donkeys of His corral.
Likewise, all who reject the true Passover Lamb--Jesus Christ, who was killed at Passover as the Lamb of God--remain unclean as donkeys and are ineligible to be presented to God as His sons.
More than that, though the entire nation of Israel kept the Passover before coming out of Egypt, they were still unclean and carnally minded. When they worshiped the golden calf (an Egyptian deity), they proved themselves to be unworthy as the sons of God. Their disobedience was manifested ten times (Num. 14:22) on their way to the Promised Land, and so this disqualified them from fulfilling the feast of Tabernacles at their entrance into the Promised Land.
God rejected them, and they spent the next 40 years in the wilderness. That generation died out. The kingdom was postponed for a future generation. And when they finally crossed the Jordan, it was not at Tabernacles, but at the time of Passover (Joshua 4:19).
There are, then, two steps in this redemptive process. The first is represented by Passover when a person is justified by faith. The second is for those whose donkey character is truly replaced by the character of the Lamb, and these are the overcomers who are eligible to fulfill the feast of Tabernacles.
The middle feast (Pentecost) is the proving ground, whereby the Church in the wilderness either desires to return to Egypt or to press on to the Promised Land. The experience of Israel under Moses was a prophetic type of the New Testament Church in the wilderness during the past 2,000 years (or 40 Jubilees). It has been the Age of Pentecost--the middle feast--separating the Passover Cross from the Tabernacles Kingdom.
The Pentecostal Age has given each Christian the opportunity to worship the golden calf (the love of money) or the true God of the Bible. Those whose character has proven to be faithful to God, as Caleb and Joshua, are the overcomers, who will be rewarded at the first resurrection. These will be the first-born sons of God who are "born" on the first day of Tabernacles of some year, and presented to God on the eighth day according to the law.
Exodus 22:29, 30 tells us,
" (29) You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The first-born of your sons you shall give to Me. (30) You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me."
In the time of the first resurrection, the sons of God will be presented to the Father on the eighth day of Tabernacles, for this will be the eighth day from the birth of the prophetic Manchild company.
The rest of the believers will have to wait another thousand years to the time of "wheat harvest" at the Great White Throne. These will then be presented to God at the beginning of the eighth millennium "day" to fulfill the law of the eighth day presentation on another level.
See how the law reveals the timing of Bible prophecy. If we understand the law, then we can begin to know the times and seasons that have been revealed in Scripture, though hidden by a general lack of interest in the deeper truths in the law. It is my hope and prayer, however, that these writings on the law will spark more interest in discerning the mind of God and in learning His ways.
This is the third part of a series titled "The Law of First Fruits." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones